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Convert PDFs to Google Docs in 3 Simple Steps

Convert PDFs to Google Docs in 3 Simple Steps


Converting a PDF file into an editable Google Doc is a handy way to be able to modify and reuse content from a PDF. This article will walk through the steps required to convert a PDF document into a Google Doc, which allows you to edit the text just like a normal document.

The main benefits of converting a PDF to Google Docs are:

  • You can edit and format the text as needed after conversion. A PDF is read-only, while a Google Doc can be edited.

  • It's easier to reuse the content from a Google Doc than from a PDF. You can copy, paste, and share content.

  • Google Docs includes collaborative features for sharing and editing the document with others.

  • Converting to a Google Doc allows you to leverage other Google Drive features like searching text within documents.

In this guide, we'll cover how to upload a PDF file to Google Drive, convert it to an editable Google Doc, convert all the pages at once, make edits to the document, and download the final Google Doc file. Follow along these step-by-step instructions to seamlessly convert your PDFs.


Before getting started, make sure you have the following:

  • A Google account. You'll need to be signed into your Google account to access Google Drive and use the built-in PDF converter. If you don't already have one, you can easily create a free Google account.

  • The PDF file you want to convert. Locate the PDF file on your computer that you want to convert to an editable Google Doc. Make sure it's a standard PDF file, not a scanned image PDF.

  • Access to Google Drive. You'll need to upload the PDF file to Google Drive in order to use the conversion tool. Google Drive is included free with all Google accounts. If you don't see the Google Drive icon, make sure you're signed into your Google account.

That's all you need to get started! As long as you have those three things, you're ready to begin converting your PDF to an editable Google Doc.

Step 1 - Open Google Drive

To get started, open your web browser and go to Google Drive. If you're not already logged into your Google account, you'll be prompted to sign in.

Make sure you're logging into the account where you want the converted PDF to be saved. Once you're logged in, you'll see the Google Drive interface with any existing files and folders.

If this is your first time using Google Drive or you haven't used it in a while, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the interface. The Google Drive homepage shows your storage usage and any files or folders you have stored. On the left side you'll see a navigation panel to access things like My Drive, Shared with me, Recent, and more.

When you're ready, we can move onto uploading the PDF that you want to convert to Google Docs format. Just make sure you're logged into your Google account and looking at the main Google Drive screen.

Step 2 - Upload PDF

Uploading a PDF to Google Drive is easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Go to and log into your Google account if you haven't already.

  2. Click on the blue "New" button in the top left and select "File upload".

  3. In the window that pops up, click "Select files from your computer" and find the PDF you want to upload on your computer.

  4. Once you've selected the file, click "Open" to add it.

  5. The PDF will now upload to your Google Drive. You'll see the upload progress indicator in the top right corner.

  6. Once it's finished, the PDF will appear in your Drive file list. You can view it by double clicking on it.

And that's it! The PDF is now safely stored in your Google Drive and accessible from anywhere. You're now ready to move on to converting it to an editable Google Doc, which we'll cover next.

Step 3 - Convert PDF

To convert your uploaded PDF to an editable Google Doc, simply right-click on the PDF file in your Google Drive and select "Open with Google Docs" from the dropdown menu.

This will initiate Google's conversion process, which extracts the text and images from the PDF file so you can edit it like a regular document.

When you right-click, make sure to click on the actual PDF file itself and not just the document preview thumbnail image. The "Open with Google Docs" option should then appear in the dropdown menu that pops up.

Clicking this option will open up a preview of the converted Google Doc, with the extraction process taking just a few seconds to complete depending on the size of the original PDF.

Once opened, you can start editing the newly converted Google Doc file like any other document. The text, images, and structure of the original PDF will be preserved during conversion.

So right-clicking and selecting "Open with Google Docs" is all it takes to convert your PDFs into editable docs on Google Drive!

Step 4 - Convert All Pages

If only the first page of your PDF converted to an editable Google Doc, you'll need to convert the rest of the pages. Here's how:

  1. Click on the new Google Doc that was created from the first page of your PDF. This will open the document.

  2. At the top of the document, click "Open in Google Docs" to open the editor view.

  3. In the top menu bar, select "File" then "Import".

  4. In the import window, select "Upload" and choose your original PDF file again.

  5. Make sure the insert location is set to "End of document" so the remaining pages are appended to the end.

  6. Click "Import". Google will now convert the rest of the pages from your PDF and add them to the end of the existing document.

  7. Once complete, all pages from your original PDF should now be converted to the Google Doc. You can scroll through and verify.

  8. If any pages are still missing, repeat steps 2-6 to import the PDF again and convert the remainder of the pages.

Now you have a fully editable Google Doc containing all pages that were in your original PDF! You can delete any blank pages if needed. The document is ready for you to edit, download, and export in Google Docs.

Step 5 - Edit Document

Now that you have successfully converted your PDF to an editable Google Doc, you can start editing the document however you like. One of the best things about converting to Google Docs is gaining the ability to easily edit and format the text.

With the PDF now in Google Docs format, you have access to all of Google's powerful editing features. You can use the menu bar to change the font, font size, margins, line spacing, and more. The editing options like cut, copy, paste, and formatting using bold, italics, underline etc. allow you to customize the document.

You can rearrange and move paragraphs around just by selecting the text and dragging it. It's easy to delete or add new text anywhere you want. And you can use the comments feature to provide feedback or notes.

Overall, converting from PDF to Google Doc gives you a fully editable document that you can modify however needed. Take advantage of the versatile formatting options and editing capabilities within Google Docs once your PDF has been converted. The freedom to effortlessly edit and update the text makes converting to Google Docs a very useful option.

Step 6 - Download Google Doc

Once you have finished editing your converted Google Doc, you may want to download a copy to your computer. Here's how to download the Google Doc:

  1. Click the File menu at the top left of the document.

  2. Select Download from the drop-down menu.

  3. Choose the file format you want to download the document in. The options include PDF, Word, RTF, HTML, Text, ODT, and EPUB.

  4. Click Download.

  5. Your browser will automatically start downloading the converted document in your chosen file format.

  6. When the download is complete, open the file from your Downloads folder or wherever your browser saves downloads.

  7. You now have an editable version of your original PDF document saved on your computer. You can make further edits and share as needed.

Downloading your converted Google Doc allows you to work on the document offline, share it in other formats, or save a backup copy. Just remember to save any changes you make back to Google Drive if you want to retain them in the cloud version.

Additional Options

While converting PDFs to Google Docs using Google Drive is simple and straightforward, there are a few other options for converting PDFs.

Use a Chrome Extension

One option is to use a Chrome extension that allows converting PDFs. Some popular extensions include:

  • PDF to Doc - This extension lets you right-click on a PDF to convert to an editable Word doc. It works on individual PDFs and does not require uploading to Google Drive.

  • Save as Doc - This extension adds a "Save as Doc" option when you right-click on a PDF, allowing conversion to a Word Doc.

  • Nitro PDF to Word - Offered by Nitro Software, this extension can convert PDFs to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more.

These Chrome extensions offer a simple way to quickly convert a PDF without uploading and converting it in Google Drive. They work for individual PDF files. The converted Word docs can then be opened in Google Docs for further editing.

Use an Online Converter

Another option is to use an online PDF to Word converter tool. There are many free converter sites that allow you to upload a PDF file and download the converted document. Some popular options include:

  • PDF2Go - Offers many conversion options including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and HTML.

  • SmallPDF - Provides PDF to Word conversion along with other PDF tools.

  • PDF Candy - Has a free PDF to Word converter with no limits on uploads.

These tools work for individual PDF files and allow conversion without Google Drive. The Word docs can then be opened in Google Docs. Just be cautious of any converter site asking for an email address before converting.

Convert in Microsoft Word

If you have Microsoft Word installed, you can also directly open and convert PDFs there. Just open Word, go to File -> Open and browse to the PDF file. Word will convert the PDF to an editable Word document which can then be opened in Google Docs.

Trying out these different options can help convert PDFs to Google Docs, beyond just using Google Drive. Choose the method that best fits your needs.


Converting a PDF to Google Docs is a simple process that can be done in just a few steps. To summarize:

  • You first need to open Google Drive and upload the PDF you want to convert. Drag and drop the file into Drive or use the "New" button to select the PDF from your computer.

  • Once uploaded, double click the PDF to open it. Click the "Open with" button and select "Google Docs" from the menu.

  • Google will automatically convert the PDF to a Google Doc. The formatting may not be perfect, but the text should convert over.

  • If you have a multi-page PDF, you'll need to go through and convert each page one at a time. Simply repeat the process of opening the PDF and selecting "Google Docs" to convert each page.

  • Once converted, you can edit, download or share the Google Doc file like any other Doc. The original PDF will remain untouched in your Drive.

Converting PDFs to Google Docs using Drive enables you to take advantage of Docs' editing capabilities and makes your PDFs easier to work with. Just follow these simple steps as outlined to quickly convert a PDF file.

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